Seven Cool SDCC 2013 Bits of Comic Book News (and 7 We Didn’t Get but Should Have)

San Diego Comic Con 2013 has come and gone, and although the lion’s share of the news items to come out of the convention floor were about movies and television, several major comic book related announcements were made as well. Here are seven of the coolest ones, and seven that would have been a whole lot cooler had they happened as I’d hoped they would.

1. Marvel Announces Nightcrawler’s Return in Amazing X-Men


With the upcoming end of Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men title, everyone knew there was an open slot to be filled in the mutant monthly comic slate, and at SDCC 2013 on Sunday, Marvel announced a new Amazing X-Men series, from writer Jason Aaron and artist Ed McGuinness. This book will see the long awaited return of Nightcrawler to the Marvel Universe, after having been killed off in the Second Coming crossover series back in 2010 saving the young mutant Hope. Just like fellow mutants Jean Grey, Colossus, etc, we all knew Nightcrawler would be back someday, and I’m glad Marvel didn’t drag it out forever. Because who doesn’t love Kurt Wagner? Also, from the previews it looks like they’ve decided to put Kurt back in his original (and best) costume, as designed by the late, great Dave Cockrum.

The new book will be written by Jason Aaron, whose work on the Wolverine and the X-Men title has led to some of the best and most enjoyable X-Men books since Joss Whedon was on the title. He’s bringing along some of Marvel’s most recognizable X-persons to the team, like Storm, Wolverine (duh), Beast, Iceman, Northstar and…Firestar? Yes, the mutant created for television back in the ’80s to be one of Spider-Man’s “Amazing Friends” has found some newer amazing friends to hang with. At least she’ll be reunited with her old pal Iceman.

Announcement That Wasn’t Made, But I Wish Had Been:

You’ve got Ed McGuiness as an artist on an X-Men book, and you don’t include Colossus as one of the members? Ed McGuiness was pretty much born to draw Piotr Rasputin, in all his giant, musclebound glory, and including Colossus on the team would re-unite the main four “All-New, All Different X-Men” team members once again.

2. Bruce Timm Announces Batman: Black and White


Although not technically a comic book announcement, it does involve Batman, so I’m going to cheat a bit here. At the Spotlight on Bruce Timm panel on Friday at SDCC, the genius animator behind Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Superman and Justice League Unlimited squashed rumors of his impending retirement, which began when it was announced he was no longer supervising the DC Animated movies any more, as he has been doing since the release of Superman: Doomsday to DVD in 2007. This of course led many to believe he was no longer at Warner Brothers anymore. Warner reps quickly denied the rumors, saying he was moving on to other projects inside the company.

What it turns out those projects are, as revealed at his spotlight panel by Timm, is a short animated feature on Superman for his 75th Anniversary, featuring various incarnations of the character through the ages, as well as a short Batman Black and White film-noir for Cartoon Network’s DC Nation. Timm didn’t say too much about this last project, but did say it would probably see the light of day within the next year or so. Anything Batman related with Timm should be news for geeks everywhere to jump for joy as far as I’m concerned, as Bruce Timm + Batman = Gold every time.

Announcement That Wasn’t Made, But I Wish Had Been:

Of course, after rumors of his retirement were officially debunked by Warners, new rumors began to spread like wildfire online that the reason Timm was stepping down from overseeing the DC animated films was that he was prepping an all new animated Justice League series, which would be a continuation of the DC Animated Universe begun in the ’90s and finishing off in 2006 with the final episode of Justice League Unlimited. Sadly, although he did mildly hint at some new DC projects in the horizon, there was no confirmation of any rumors about a new Justice League show coming anytime soon. Which made this fanboy right here totally bummed.

3. Marvel Announces The Inhumans as “The Next Big Franchise”


At the Cup O’ Joe Panel on Friday, Marvel editor Nick Lowe revealed that the next big franchise from Marvel after Jonathan Hickman’s big the Infinity Avengers-centric crossover would be the return of the Inhumans in an all new series. Inhumanity spins out of Infinity, leading to Matt Fraction and Joe Madureira’s Inhuman, a new ongoing series starting in January 2014. Marvel EIC Axel Alonso says the Inhumans are going to become a big deal going forward into 2014 and beyond, much like Guardians of the Galaxy were a minor property a year or so ago and are now a top-ten book. Marvel seems to be hoping for the same effect to take place for the Inhumans; they’ve always been a cool concept that for some reason has never really taken off long-term in the comics, but this could finally be their chance at the big time.

Announcement That Wasn’t Made, But I Wish Had Been:

Ok, with the big push for the Inhumans as a “the next big thing” it is clear that Marvel is setting up Jack Kirby’s creations for a big media push, namely, a movie from Marvel Studios. Although Marvel Studios delivered what was, by all accounts, a killer panel in Hall H on Saturday, I wouldn’t have minded seeing a little corporate synergy in action and see one of their as yet un-named movies coming out in the next few years be announced as The Inhumans, officially.

4. DC Comics Announces Harley Quinn Ongoing Series


DC Comics held several panels at SDCC this year, but unlike years prior, there were practically no major new announcements on upcoming titles. What we got was a lot of regurgitation of info already spilled in solicitations already released online. *YAWN* Fans come to these panels at Comic Con to hear NEW info and get teased for major projects for the next six to eight months, not just tell us what we already know. But projects like Forever Evil, Superman/Wonder Woman, and some others were already common knowledge among fans. C’mon DC, give us something new to get excited about or get pissed off over at these panels; that’s kind of the whole point.

However, there was one decent announcement made that we hadn’t already heard from DC, and that was the news of an all-new ongoing series for the Joker’s #1 lady Harley Quinn, by the married team of Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, who will be co-writing a comic book for the first time. Harley has been a super popular character ever since her introduction in the now classic ’90s Batman animated series, and although she had an ongoing series once before, this would be her first one since DC launched the New 52. Although I miss her classic look, I’m glad ol’ Harley girl is getting her due once again, even if she is all “Suicide Girls” lookin’ now.

Announcement That Wasn’t Made, But I Wish Had Been:

We’ve seen glimpses of concept sketches for the comic book Justice League 3000, but if someone at DC confirmed that the future versions of the Flash and Wonder Woman in that upcoming book were in fact Donna Troy and Wally West, DC fanboys and fangirls would go nuts. Throw us old school fans a bone, DC. Geez.

5. Galactus Will Eat the Ultimate Universe


Although this had been rumored for a little while now, at the Ultimate Comics panel on Friday at SDCC, writer Brian Michael Bendis, who has been with the Ultimate line since the year 2000 when Ultimate Spider-Man first came out, formally announced Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand. Bendis described it simply as “Galactus coming to Ultimate Earth and eating it,” He also refers to it as a “very important chapter in the Ultimate Universe.” From the sound of it, it seems to be the last chapter in the Ultimate universe, unless there’s an epilogue to the whole “being eaten” thing. “It kind of breaks open the barrier between the Ultimate Universe and the Marvel Universe. The Ultimate characters have to find a way to defeat Galactus, or sacrifice their world to save the regular Marvel Universe. It’s one of the biggest choices and decisions.” Bendis also mentioned that Cataclysm will be “one of the biggest stories” in Miles Morales’ heroic arc as Spider-Man, which suggests he might be coming over to the mainstream Marvel Universe when this is all said and done.

Announcement That Wasn’t Made, But I Wish Had Been:

Honestly, I just wish that Marvel would just pull the plug on the whole Ultimate line at this point. It seems to have served its purpose, and aside from Ultimate Spider-Man, I don’t feel much heat around any of the books anymore. I wish Marvel would have just come out officially and said “this is the end of the Ultimates line, and we are going out with a bang” and be done with it. Thirteen years is a pretty damn good run if you ask me.

6. Marvel Teases Wolverine: Origins II


Back in 2000, in the early days of the Joe Quesada-run Marvel Comics, the publisher decided to do what was the considered unthinkable, and finally reveal the full, proper origin of Wolverine in the appropriately titled Origin, from then Marvel big-wig Bill Jemas, Joe Quesada and Paul Jenkins, illustrated by Andy Kubert. The thinking behind the project was that with the X-Men now a big deal in Hollywood, sooner or later Fox would want to get around to telling Logan’s backstory, which they ultimately did in the terrible X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a film that cribbed a lot from the comic book Origin. The comic origin was well-received, although a lot of people still think to this day it was unnecessary, including the man who made Wolverine famous in the first place, Chris Claremont.

Well, at this year’s SDCC, Marvel have announced they’ve decided to further expand on the events of Origin with the rather unimaginatively named Origin II. Set to come out in November of this year, the book is going to come to us from the creative team of Kieron Gillen and Adam Kubert, brother of original artist Andy Kubert. Origin II will pick up more directly after the events of the first story, with Logan living like a feral animal with a pack of wolves in the wilderness during the early parts of the 20th Century. In these early years, we find that Logan will encounter a man who will one day become the X-Men foe Mr. Sinister, then known as Nathaniel Essex. Gillen says this series will be like a period-piece novel that just happens to be about a future superhero.

Announcement That Wasn’t Made, But I Wish Had Been:

Despite being their company’s highest profile female and black superhero, Marvel does next to nothing with Storm. Under the pen of Chris Claremont, she was once one of the better written women heroes of all time, and is the most recognizable female super hero (not related to a pre-existing male one) next to Wonder Woman. I was hoping that maybe this year we’d finally get some news on a Storm series of some sort now that she’s finally divorced from Black Panther. But once again, we got Zero. Zilch. Nada.

7. All Out War Comes to The Walking Dead


It wasn’t just Marvel and DC who were making big announcements at SDCC this year; Robert Kirkman used the opportunity to announce All Out War for the tenth anniversary of The Walking Dead this fall. According to Kirkman, this will be “the most explosive, largest-scale epic that we’ve done in The Walking Dead thus far. The Walking Dead‘s always been about the progression of time, and building civilization over a period of time. A lot of people haven’t realized the stuff I’ve been working towards since the first issue. There are a lot of communities forming, and it does seem that things are getting back to a state of normalcy to an extent.” For those wondering if the book is coming to an end point any time soon, don’t hold yer breath; “It’ll end at some point, but I do want it to go for a good, long time. I definitely plan to continue,” And who can blame him? Would you kill your cash cow?

Announcement That Wasn’t Made, But I Wish Had Been:

I’m a much bigger fan of Kirkman’s Invincible series than The Walking Dead, and keep hoping for news of a movie or television series or something, but once again there seems to be nothing. When asked by a fan about either or show or a movie, Kirkman said “Definitely something I’d like to see, but it has to be the right team and the right time.” Doesn’t sound like anytime soon to me. Bummer.